Page 27 - Independent Schools Magazine
P. 27

National Theatre Technical Director goes back to school to open new theatre
The brand new £3.3m theatre complex at Rendcomb College, the Grif n Centre, was of cially opened last month (February) by special guest and former pupil, Jonathan Suffolk, the National Theatre’s Technical Director.
Speaking in the Grif n Centre’s auditorium to a crowd of hundreds including The Rt. Hon. Countess Bathurst, in front of a dramatic backdrop from the school’s production of Agatha Christie’s stage adaptation of the murder mystery ‘And Then There Were None’ Mr Suffolk attributed his interest in the arts to his time at Rendcomb College and spoke of the way the school had shaped his future. He said: “I had changed, I was ready for the new world of theatre...I’d learnt the value of collaboration.”
After leaving Rendcomb College in 1984, Mr Suffolk followed what is now considered to be a meteoric rise from electrician’s mate to Technical Director; he now oversees 350 technicians who together realise the National Theatre’s 20 productions every year.
Commending the new Grif n Centre, which includes a 350-seat auditorium, mirrored dance studio with ballet barres and a sprung  oor, dressing rooms, prop and set workshop and costume store, Mr Suffolk offered some words
of wisdom to pupils: “This is a brilliant building, but it is just a building, that has this evening been brought to life by this bold and wonderful performance, so grasp the opportunity this space has to offer, become more skilled,
more cultured, and accomplished versions of yourselves.”
Rendcomb College’s Chair of Governors, Sir Francis Richards KCMG, CVO, DL and Head of
Little Shop of Horrors
Pupils at Bethany School, Kent, starred in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, a show that demanded technical expertise unlike any attempted at Bethany before.
Directed by Head of Drama and Artistic Director Mr Alex Bolton, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ introduced the audience to Bethany’s brightest new star... a seven-foot tall man- eating plant called Audrey II that promises Seymour fame and fortune on one condition – he provide the plant with fresh meat every day. Soon, a macabre story unfolds where no-one, not even Seymour’s true love Audrey is safe from the clutches of the enigmatic plant.
With the audience in stitches thanks to the dark humour expertly conveyed by the cast, and musical numbers that are still being hummed throughout the School, the performance was a resounding success.
Headmaster Francie Healy said that he hugely enjoyed the show and was delighted with the superb quality of acting and music on display.
College Rob Jones (pictured with Mr Suffolk), thanked those who had supported and donated to the building project, the  rst major building to be constructed at the school for 27 years.
Marching Band join Royal Marines
The Oundle School, Northamptonshire, CCF Marching Band were joined by the Band
of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, Collingwood to play in an afternoon concert in Oundle’s Great Hall.
With a combined band comprising nearly eighty musicians, it made
for an impressive performance that was enjoyed by a packed audience including delighted members of the School’s Community Action ‘660 Club’ as well as pupil musicians from Laxton Junior School.
The programme consisted of marches, classical and jazz
music, vocal performances
and the world-class drummers. The well-choreographed and precise performance from these percussionists put on a show that no one will forget.
Director of Music at Laxton
Junior School, Roisin Cornwell commented, “The diversity of music played offered our pupils a real insight into music at Oundle School and encouraged aspiration in this very rewarding area of the curriculum. The pupils enjoyed this event so much that they were still practising hand movements for days afterwards!”
Head of Brass and the CCF Marching Band at Oundle School, Adele Hudson commented, “It was an absolute honour and privilege to have The Royal Marines Band play alongside the Oundle School CCF Marching Band. The whole experience for both performers and audience alike was breath-taking - truly magni cent.”
Bolton acknowledged, “The show has huge technical aspects that the actors had to learn. They faced head-on the challenge of bringing to life a character that is not
real, and through persistence and thinking on their feet, achieved an outstanding performance and truly developed their acting skills”.
The show would not have been such a success without the performance of the School’s orchestra, led by Musical Director Mr Gareth Stubber eld. Bethany’s talented musicians followed the complicated and quirky score with accuracy and enthusiasm that brought the production to life. On his involvement in the play, Stubber eld said: “To bring the singing together with our musicians is simply a joy”.
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